Do Cat Fountains Use a Lot of Electricity?


  1. Introduction
  2. The Appeal of Cat Fountains
  3. How Cat Fountains Work
  4. Measuring a Fountain's Electricity Use
  5. Estimating Costs
  6. Tips to Maximize Efficiency
  7. The Bottom Line


Cat fountains operate continuously to pump and filter water for pets, requiring electricity to run the fountain pump. For cat owners considering adding a fountain, questions may arise around how much the fountains contribute to electric bills over time. Because the fountain runs all day to circulate water, some worry the ongoing electricity use may be high. However, a typical cat fountain pump only uses about 3-15 watts of power.

To put that in perspective, a standard 60-watt light bulb uses 4-20 times more power. Based on average electricity costs, a continuously running fountain equates to just pennies per day extra in electrical fees. While leaving the fountain plugged in makes caring for pets easier, some small measures can help reduce energy use further. With some smart use and conservation, cat fountains make an inexpensive investment in feline health that generally won't noticeably impact utility bills.


Do Cat Fountains Use a Lot of Electricity


The Appeal of Cat Fountains

Cat fountains provide fresh, circulating water that encourages cats to drink more. The sound and motion of flowing water are enticing to cats. Fountains also filter the water, keeping it cleaner for longer than standing water in a bowl. For these reasons, fountains are popular cat care products.

How Cat Fountains Work

Cat fountains work by using an electric pump to circulate and filter the water. Some models have elaborate multi-tiered designs, while others are simple waterfalls or bubbles. But they all rely on a pump powered by electricity to run continuously.

Measuring a Fountain's Electricity Use

To determine how much electricity cat fountains use, we have to look at their wattage. Most cat fountain pumps are very low wattage, in the range of 3-15 watts. For comparison, a standard 60-watt light bulb runs at 60 watts. So most cat fountains use less than a quarter of the electricity of a light bulb.


Do Cat Fountains Use a Lot of Electricity


Estimating Costs

With average electricity prices around 10-20 cents per kilowatt-hour, a fountain pump running 24/7 would add only a few cents per day to electricity costs. Based on average pump wattages and electricity rates, having a fountain running would cost around $3-10 per year.

Tips to Maximize Efficiency

While fountains are relatively low-energy users, there are some ways to maximize their efficiency:

  • Choose a fountain with an adjustable flow rate so it can be turned down when not needed at full power.
  • Select an appropriately sized fountain for your cat so it doesn't have to work harder than needed.
  • Ensure the pump is fully submerged to prevent it from working harder to pump the water.
  • Clean regularly to prevent pump clogs that could hinder efficiency.
  • Use a timer to turn off the fountain at night when cats are less likely to drink.

The Bottom Line

While leaving a fountain on 24/7 is convenient, the small amount of electricity used makes the expense minimal for most cat owners. The benefits of having fresh circulating water available likely outweigh the nominal cost of running the fountain. With a few efficiency measures, the electricity required can be even less. So cat fountains make an energy-efficient investment in your cat's health.

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